Search for Excellence in Crop Production
Jason de Koff
Tennessee State University
1 Specialist, Tennessee State University, Old Hickory, TN, 37138
The objective of the drone program is to increase stakeholders’ knowledge and interest in using drones in agriculture. 1. Workshops/demonstrations for farmers on using drones in agriculture were held. Farmers had the opportunity to fly a Phantom 4 Pro drone and think about applications they might use them for. This was followed by presentations on different uses for drones in agriculture, drone laws and regulations, and drone options and costs. The drone workshops for farmers were offered in 9 Tennessee counties between September 2019 and March 2020 and reached 142 participants. The workshops were covered by two media outlets that came to two separate events (http://www.news-herald.net/lcn/bringing-drones-to-farmers/article_2e2350fb-4e7e-5c6e-80f2-b46610e01a28.html and https://youtu.be/gCJgmCfr9tg). Evaluations from these workshops found important increases in knowledge and interest as a result of this program (see "Entry" document for additional details). Four fact sheets, four videos, and three trade publications were also derived from this part of the project. 2. Drone certification training was provided to extension agents, agricultural professionals, and high school teachers so they could earn their FAA remote pilot certification or teach students to earn their certification. The training programs have occurred in three different formats. One format was a 4 week (1 hour/week) webinar hosted by the American Society of Agronomy in September 2019 and February 2021. The second format was a 4 hour course held in Knoxville, Jackson, and Murfreesboro, TN in 2019 (52 total participants) and Princeton and Lexington, KY (45 total participants) in February 2020. These focused on training extension agents to get their remote pilot certification for their programs. The third format was a 4-hour online course held in May 2020, June 2020, and July 2020 for 181 total participants. The trainings involved presentations, activities to enhance knowledge (see attached), and a sample exam. Evaluations from the webinar found important increases in knowledge of participants. They also found that the activities used in the trainings were helpful and the workshops increased their likelihood of getting their certification or increased their confidence in teaching their students to get their certification (see "Entry" document for additional details). In this program, I learned that having multiple workshops allowed me to tweak them to enhance participant learning and understanding. Also, 4 1-hour workshops seemed to work better than one 4-hour workshop due to the large amount of information being disseminated.